Posted August 23, 2012 by Jen in Reviews

Book Review: Ten Dollar Dinners

As any parent knows, pulling together healthy dinners seven days a week on a budget is no easy feat. I know I have struggled with the task, and only manage by creating a weekly menu to stay organized. Luckily, I was sent a copy of Ten Dollar Dinners by Melissa d’Arabian to review and was very pleased with what I read and tasted.

Melissa d’Arabian is the host of the Food Network’s show, Ten Dollar Dinners, and launched her cookbook by the same name. In it, she promises dinner for four for $10 or less (includes an appetizer, main and dessert). As a woman who knows the chaos of motherhood first hand, she created her recipes, coding system and tips for savings to be practical and realistic. Her methods are inventive, sensible (making your own yogurt) and focus on resource management useful for any busy family.

And, don’t think that because the recipes are affordable that they are not healthy! Quite the contrary, most of her recipes are well-balanced (except for the desserts, of course), pleasing adults and children alike. In the Miser household, the Black Bean “Nacho” Burgers were certainly a hit.

The Pros

  • Simple
  • Healthy
  • Taste
  • Affordable
  • Fun challenges (e.g. using everything in your pantry before buying more)
The Cons
  • No picture for every recipe (a pet-peeve of mine)
  • Some of the sequencing felt counter-intuitive, but I simply modified as needed

I was most surprised that, although the recipes I tried are simple, they do not lack taste  - plates were finished by the kids! Overall, I would recommend this book to any family who is looking for a basic range of recipes, is working with a budget and cares about saving food. As Melissa says: “the most expensive ingredient is the one you throw away.”